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USA Health receives $1.5 million in federal funding for new pediatric imaging equipment

The latest MRI technology offers better quality and allows for a more accurate diagnosis. It also can reduce scan times compared to older machines, which will allow up to 30% more children to receive needed scans daily.

Published Aug 29th, 2023

By Casandra Andrews

With a goal of helping young patients and their families receive an accurate diagnosis faster, USA Health has received $1.5 million in federal funding to purchase new pediatric imaging equipment for USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

The money, designated through Congressionally directed spending by U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl of Alabama, will be used to purchase a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and a mobile C-arm fluoroscopic X-ray system. MRI is a noninvasive technology that creates three-dimensional images often used for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring. A mobile C-arm is used for real-time diagnostic imaging and surgical procedures.

“We are grateful to Rep. Jerry Carl for obtaining these funds for state-of-the-art equipment that will allow our healthcare team to continue providing the highest level of pediatric care to our most vulnerable patients,” said John V. Marymont, M.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama. “The latest technology used for magnetic resonance imaging offers better quality and allows for a more accurate diagnosis, which can be critical and lifesaving.”

Newer MRI equipment also can offer reduced scan times compared to older machines, which means more young patients can receive scans each day. The new equipment is expected to allow up to 30% more children to receive needed scans daily. The new equipment also includes a video game component that provides distraction therapy for children, so fewer sedation services are needed.

The Pediatric Emergency Center at Children’s & Women’s Hospital, which records more than 40,000 patient visits each year, is the only healthcare facility in the region offering specialized care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and staffed with pediatric emergency medicine physicians to best meet the needs of sick and injured children.

“When a child is sick and the cause is not immediately apparent, every minute counts when searching for answers,” said Owen Bailey, M.S.H.A., FACHE, USA Health CEO and senior associate vice president for medical affairs. “Our academic health system’s ability to expand access to needed imaging because of this funding — and find those answers for our patients and their families — means more children will potentially be able to start their treatment faster.”

Scheduled for completion in January 2024, the new pediatric emergency center will more than double the current department size from 9,000 square feet to nearly 19,000 square feet and expand from 14 treatment areas to more than 30 areas, including 25 private treatment rooms. The new center also will offer sensory strategies to help calm and support children during their emergency visit.

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